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are speaking only about foreign policy and in particular in a very focused way on syria. i do want to thank those who made this possible and as chairman of the key subcommittee i value the work that you do, each of you do on a range of policies, whether it is the security of our troops in afghanistan, syria which i will focus on but also the work you do to strengthen our policy as it relates to the regime in iran. your team has brought to the forefront carefully thought out and persuasive research and policy positions that have been an outstanding resource for those of us in congress and i am grateful for that help. i know that the theme of this year's forum is, quote, dictators and dissidents:should the west choose sides? quite topical given the events that have played out most recently whether it is the arabs spring, or nascent democratic openings, i would argue the central question maybe is one of process. that question being whether the u.s. the west should support the democratic process such that citizens are able to choose their own leaders. even when the process gives rise to politic
, concerned about egypt, concerned about syria. we are concerned about azerbaijan, armenia, and georgia, and the gulf states, especially bahrain right now. so i will end up by just saying that this is going to be probably my last hearing as chairman of this committee. my good friend, greg, and msha my other colleagues will do everything they can to make sure we continue to pursue this issue to make sure that not only the region is secure but our interests, united states of america's interests are safe as we'll. without i yield to my colleague, mr. meeks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and i want to thank you for holding as you said this most important hearing. but i also want to say to a degree sad, that because this probably will be your last hearing here in the united states house of representatives after almost three decades of service to our country, and we want to salute you for that. some, you know, maybe with regret not having used to stick around anymore. but we indeed are going to miss you, and i have to say that it's been an honor and a personal privilege for me to sit as a ranki
questions. all parties should recognize the need for unity in the coming year when events in iran, syria, afghanistan, north korea, and other locations may test american national security in extreme ways. i commend each of you, my senate colleagues, for the commitment that led you to stand for election in the united states senate to begin with. running for office is a difficult endeavor that is usually accompanied by great personal risk and cost. each one of you is capable of being a positive force for changing the tone of debate in our country. each one of you has a responsibility not only to act with integrity and represent your constituents but also to make informed and imaginative choice on which good governance for our country depends. i am optimistic about our country's future. i believe that both internal divisions and external threats can be overcome. the united states will continue to serve as the inspiration for people seeking peace, freedom, and economic prosperity. and the united states senate should and will be at the forefront of this advancement. may we seek each day from
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